Israel’s entry for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, debut director Yuval Adler’s intelligent, intensely etched tragedy “Bethlehem,” pits an Israeli officer against a teenaged Palestinian informant (much like Palestine’s “Omar,” also nominated). Co-written by Alid Waked, an Arab journalist specializing in the West Bank, the thriller elements are nicely orchestrated, evading overt moralizing, while the level of personal characterization differs from character to character. To the film’s credit, Adler’s camera keeps close to those characters, staying heated from one intense moment to the next. With Yossi Eini, Tsahi Halevi, George Iskander, Tarik Kopty, Shaadi Maryee. 99m. (Ray Pride)
“Bethlehem” opens Friday, March 7 at Landmark Century.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)